Sunderland’s Sessegnon: I’ll be O’Neill’s wide boy!

Stephane Sessegnon.
Stephane Sessegnon.
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STEPHANE Sessegnon is happy to remain as Sunderland’s wingman, if Martin O’Neill opts to incorporate new signing Danny Graham into the starting line-up.

Sunderland’s reigning Player of the Year has been moved into a wide role, rather than occupying the slot behind the striker, over the last month as O’Neill has tinkered with the Black Cats’ formation.

Sessegnon and Adam Johnson have operated from the flanks to support lone striker Steven Fletcher when O’Neill has used three central midfielders, while the Benin international remained out wide when Sunderland reverted to an orthodox 4-4-2 in the final 30 minutes of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

The former Paris St Germain forward doesn’t want to pre-empt O’Neill’s team selection, but says playing on the wing does afford him a better opportunity to embark upon forays with the ball at his feet.

Sessegnon told the Echo: “When you’re playing out wide, you have more of the chance to run with the ball and you have a bit more space in which to operate.

“It’s somewhere where I haven’t played regularly for a while, but I’m happy to stay there if the manager wants.

“He’s the one who picks the team.

“It’s true that the signing of Danny has given us more options and he’s done well in his two appearances so far.

“Hopefully he can continue to do well for us.

“But it’s a decision for the manager over how he uses Danny and Fletch.”

Sessegnon insists Sunderland must shrug off the defeat against Arsenal before they return to action at West Brom on Saturday week, despite seeing their pressure during the finale come to nought.

Top scorer Fletcher was the most notable guilty party for a succession of chances spurned by Sunderland, but Sessegnon is philosophical over the loss, stressing every side endures games where the ball just won’t go in the net.

“It was difficult to take against Arsenal because it was a match where we sensed we could have got something,” added the 28-year-old.

“We had so many chances to bring the scores level during the second half.

“But that’s football. There are games when you put teams under a lot of pressure, but you end up losing. It’s just something you have to accept and move on.

“Fletch had several chances for an equaliser after working so hard during the first half without getting an opportunity.

“But he has put in everything for us this season.

“It wasn’t just him. When the chances arrived, the ball just wouldn’t go in.

“Perhaps the scoreline was a bit unfair, but the important thing is we keep giving everything, like usual.

“You get games where you don’t score.”

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